Kenji Maenaka is head chef at Izakaya Fujiyama in Sydney, Australia, where he introduced his homeland's traditional barbecue to a new culture. In this video, Maenaka shares his passion for and devotion to the craft.
"Japanese-style barbecue comes from near my hometown," Maenaka says in the video. "My father loved cooking meat. Nearly every week he was cooking barbecue for us."
The chef learned to cook when he was five, absorbing knowledge at his father's sushi bar in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island that is known for the country's barbecue. After years of practice, including taking the time and effort to recreate his father's secret sauce recipe, Maenaka now takes what he knows and allows it to be influenced by his new home.
"I don't really care about which is Japanese, which is Western," Maenaka says. "The more important thing is always using skill and thinking about simply cooking and the flavor. We're always chasing good produce and making the customer happy."